Former Bengals team president, minority owner John Sawyer dies
Former Bengals team president and part owner John Sawyer passed away this morning in Cincinnati. He was 90 years old.
Sawyer, who was team president from 1968-93 and had served as team vice president since ’94, is considered to be one of the founders of the Bengals. He joined Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown and his son Mike Brown in representing Cincinnati during the city’s bid to gain the original American Football League franchise, which was awarded in 1967.
Sawyer had long been one of the Brown family’s key advisors, and he rarely missed a game at home or away. He also was a former part owner of the Cincinnati Reds, and he was a leader in initiating construction of Riverfront Stadium, which opened in 1970 and served as home to both the Bengals and the Reds for more than 30 years.
“John was a pioneer with the Bengals” said Mike Brown, the Bengals’ current team president. “The team wouldn’t have come into existence were it not for his efforts. He was our original president and our primary owner for many years. We lost a critical business partner, as well as a close dear friend.”
Sawyer also was president of the J. Sawyer Company in Cincinnati, a multi-faceted agricultural and real estate firm. He was a B-17 pilot in World War II, and he was an innovator in aerial applications of crop pesticides. In 1983, he was inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame. He was the son of Charles Sawyer, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
Sawyer was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth, and is survived by four daughters and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun